Heartland Institute Responds to Stolen and Fake Documents

FEBRUARY 15, 2012 – The following statement from The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more information, contact Communications Director Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org and 312/377-4000.

Yesterday afternoon, two advocacy groups posted online several documents they claimed were The Heartland Institute’s 2012 budget, fundraising, and strategy plans. Some of these documents were stolen from Heartland, at least one is a fake, and some may have been altered.

The stolen documents appear to have been written by Heartland’s president for a board meeting that took place on January 17. He was traveling at the time this story broke yesterday afternoon and still has not had the opportunity to read them all to see if they were altered. Therefore, the authenticity of those documents has not been confirmed.

Since then, the documents have been widely reposted on the Internet, again with no effort to confirm their authenticity.

One document, titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy,” is a total fake apparently intended to defame and discredit The Heartland Institute. It was not written by anyone associated with The Heartland Institute. It does not express Heartland’s goals, plans, or tactics. It contains several obvious and gross misstatements of fact.

We respectfully ask all activists, bloggers, and other journalists to immediately remove all of these documents and any quotations taken from them, especially the fake “climate strategy” memo and any quotations from the same, from their blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.

The individuals who have commented so far on these documents did not wait for Heartland to confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents. We believe their actions constitute civil and possibly criminal offenses for which we plan to pursue charges and collect payment for damages, including damages to our reputation. We ask them in particular to immediately remove these documents and all statements about them from the blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions.

How did this happen? The stolen documents were obtained by an unknown person who fraudulently assumed the identity of a Heartland board member and persuaded a staff member here to “re-send” board materials to a new email address. Identity theft and computer fraud are criminal offenses subject to imprisonment. We intend to find this person and see him or her put in prison for these crimes.

Apologies: The Heartland Institute apologizes to the donors whose identities were revealed by this theft. We promise anonymity to many of our donors, and we realize that the major reason these documents were stolen and faked was to make it more difficult for donors to support our work. We also apologize to Heartland staff, directors, and our allies in the fight to bring sound science to the global warming debate, who have had their privacy violated and their integrity impugned.

Lessons: Disagreement over the causes, consequences, and best policy responses to climate change runs deep. We understand that.

But honest disagreement should never be used to justify the criminal acts and fraud that occurred in the past 24 hours. As a matter of common decency and journalistic ethics, we ask everyone in the climate change debate to sit back and think about what just happened.

Those persons who posted these documents and wrote about them before we had a chance to comment on their authenticity should be ashamed of their deeds, and their bad behavior should be taken into account when judging their credibility now and in the future.

The Heartland Institute is a 28-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Washington, DC. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site at http://www.heartland.org or call 312/377-4000.


3 thoughts on “Heartland Institute Responds to Stolen and Fake Documents”

  1. Please compare the $200,000 that Heartland allegedly received from the Koch Foundation to the $26 million that Aubrey McClendon of Chesapeake Energy gave from 2007-10 to the Sierra Club for their Beyond Coal campaign against coal-fired power plants or the $100 million that McClendon and Chesapeake reportedly have more recently given to the despicable and sleazy American Lung Association for their anti-coal propaganda.

  2. An email:

    I hope you will post this statement as a news article on your website – to respond to the scurrilous attacks being launched against Heartland by the usual cabal of climate alarmists, environmental extremists, politicians, and “lamestream” and “drive-by” media.

    CFACT’s Climate Depot website provides further commentary on this outrageous action. Here is the link: http://www.ClimateDepot.com

    As Climate Depot director Marc Morano has observed, the sums contributed to skeptical groups like Heartland “are loose change compared to the billions that have been funneled to green groups and alarmist research establishments.” The more the climate chaos edifice collapses, the more angry and desperate the rent-seeking alarmists have become. This is just one more manifestation of their desperation.

    Thank you for helping to ensure that the American and world public learn the TRUTH about this despicable theft and fabrication.

    In that context, you may also want to inform your readers about this environmentalist special interest campaign, which dwarfs even what the Heartland Institute has been falsely accused of: http://freedomfoundation.publishpath.com/policyma

    Best regards,

    Paul Driessen

  3. An email:

    Hello Everyone,

    Below you will find additional commentary by Paul Driessen of the Congress of Racial Equality concerning the ongoing attack on the Heartland Institute. This attack is apparently designed to show that they are a huge enterprise distributing vast sums of money from fossil fuel interests to promote skepticism about Global Warming. This is false on the face of it, as their sources of income are small and come from diverse sources. I'm not aware of their budget but the numbers I have seen in the fake document being distributed by alarmists are small compared with the climate funding of even a single alarmist institution in Oregon like Portland State or Oregon State University. Information that Greenpeace has distributed for years claims that skeptics have received funding of the order of $100 million dollars from fossil fuel interests. That may seem like a lot (if true), but it is negligible compared with the $100 billion dollars going to alarmists.

    Understanding the flow of money and consequent conflicts of interest are essential to understanding the 'climate con.' While I'm sure Heartland feels very violated by yesterday's theft of documents, they reveal nothing to be ashamed of. We know that they have some income that has allowed them to sponsor their excellent climate conferences and pay their staff. And their impact is far greater than their meager financial footprint. That is why they are being attacked.

    John Cribbes of Australia sent along a quote from Winston Churchill the other day, meant to apply to our little band of skeptics here in Oregon*:

    "Never have so many owed so much to so few."

    That quote could also apply to the Heartland Institute. No wonder the forces of darkness want to snuff them out. But they will not succeed. Heartland will merely land, rearm, and takeoff again. We are beginning to win the 'Battle of Climate', and our opponents know it.


    Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics)
    Corbett, Oregon USA

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